Sir Roger Scruton

About Sir Roger Scruton

Sir Roger Scruton (1944-2020) was one of the world’s leading conservative thinkers. In his nearly fifty books, he explored the philosophical depths of human nature, politics, and culture. He was Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Future Symphony Institute. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the British Academy. In 2016 Queen Elizabeth II knighted Sir Roger for his services to “philosophy, teaching, and public education.” Sir Roger's books include Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition (2018), Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet (2012), Political Philosophy: Arguments for Conservatism (2007) and Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged (2007).

Postmodern Music: Groans Wrapped in Mathematics

By |2020-12-08T15:13:08-06:00December 8th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Jazz, Modernity, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

The atonal music produced in the twentieth century consists largely of random outbursts that could be described as groans wrapped in mathematics. The result makes little or no sense to the ear, and these works remain more items of curiosity than objects of love, and audiences have begun to turn their backs on them. In [...]

Counterpoint and Why It Matters

By |2020-11-30T15:36:07-06:00November 30th, 2020|Categories: Beauty, Culture, Modernity, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays, Western Tradition|

In music, there has arisen in recent times the illusion that knowledge is not necessary, that the old forms of discipline are merely obstacles to the true creative process, and that real originality means doing your own thing, free from traditional constraint. I recently acquired a CD of music for piano duo by Jeremy Menuhin, [...]

Renewing and Rejecting: Comparing Architecture and Music

By |2020-11-23T17:14:43-06:00November 23rd, 2020|Categories: Architecture, Faith, Featured, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays, Tradition, Western Civilization|

At a certain stage and for no apparent reason, self-criticism among those of us in the West gave way to repudiation. Instead of subjecting our inheritance to a critical evaluation, seeking what is good in it and trying to understand and endorse the ties that binds us to it, a great many of those appointed [...]

The Heart of Music

By |2020-11-18T14:29:40-06:00November 18th, 2020|Categories: Classical Education, Classical Learning, Featured, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

Young people need to come into the presence of music. Without live orchestras and available concerts the real heart of music will cease to beat, and young people will be deprived of one of the most enriching experiences that I know. I grew up in post-war Britain, at a time when people were beginning to [...]

Tonality Now: Finding a Groove

By |2020-11-05T10:47:22-06:00November 12th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Featured, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

Some people listen to music; others merely hear it. The assumption on which our musical culture has been built is that people will listen to musical sounds, and listen to them for their own sake, treating them as intrinsically significant. All music lovers listen in that sense, regardless of their taste. The ear is a [...]

The Assault on Opera

By |2020-11-12T13:17:40-06:00November 5th, 2020|Categories: Art, Culture, Imagination, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

Hardly an opera producer now, confronted with a masterpiece that might otherwise delight and console an audience, can control the desire to desecrate. The more exalted the music, the more demeaning the production. What modern producers seem to forget is that audiences are gifted with the faculty of imagination. The disappearance of the bourgeoisie has led [...]

How a Conservative Should Oppose Socialism and Liberalism

By |2020-10-30T09:24:20-05:00October 28th, 2020|Categories: Conservatism, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|Tags: |

In response to liberalism, it is necessary to work for the restoration of the concrete circumstances of justice. But the concrete law that I have been advocating is very unlike anything that either a socialist or a liberal would approve. It preserves inequalities, it confers privileges, it justifies power. That, however, is also its strength. [...]

The Plague of Multiculturalism: Russell Kirk’s “America’s British Culture”

By |2020-11-19T14:57:29-06:00October 18th, 2020|Categories: Culture, England, Featured, Roger Scruton, Russell Kirk, Timeless Essays|Tags: |

There is so much pertinent history and so much wisdom in Russell Kirk’s “America’s British Culture” that his book would serve as a useful summary of America and its culture for the busy student—even for one who is hard pressed by the demands of a multicultural curriculum. America’s British Culture, by Russell Kirk (New Brunswick, [...]

The Virtue of Irrelevance

By |2020-10-06T11:53:12-05:00October 7th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Education, Featured, Music, Philosophy, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

If we know what music is, we have a duty to help young people to understand it, regardless of its “relevance.” We should do this as it has always been done, through encouraging our students to make music together. How many writers, educators, and opinion formers, urgently wishing to convey the thoughts and feelings that [...]

Will Classical Music Resist the Assaults of the Avant-Garde?

By |2020-09-22T11:31:06-05:00September 22nd, 2020|Categories: Culture, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays, Tradition, Western Civilization|

The problem for modern music arose from the way in which ideas came to displace feelings as the source of musical creation. Conscious repetition of learned effects does not amount to real musical content. Surprised by Beauty: A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music, by Robert R. Reilly (Ignatius Press, 2016) Robert R. [...]

The Problem With Architectural “Genius”

By |2020-09-10T13:34:31-05:00September 18th, 2020|Categories: Architecture, Culture, Modernity, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

The pursuit of genius in architecture is what has most contributed to the unstitching of our urban fabric, giving us those buildings in outlandish shapes and unsightly materials that take a chunk of the city and make it into somewhere else. Cooper Union New Academic Building For the truly great projects, architects are [...]

Who Was Pierre Boulez?

By |2020-09-23T23:54:36-05:00September 9th, 2020|Categories: Europe, Featured, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

We must surely understand composer-conductor Pierre Boulez as the instigator of a false conception of music—not only of the place of music in high culture, and in the civilisation that is our greatest spiritual possession, but of the nature of music itself. DE MORTUIS NIL NISI BONUM: Of the dead, nothing unless good. But you [...]

Redeeming Film Music From the Avant-Garde

By |2020-08-25T16:07:20-05:00August 25th, 2020|Categories: Featured, Film, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

Perhaps we should be grateful to John Williams and Howard Shore for showing us that we can still use the tonal language to create music that resonates in the hearts of ordinary people. Perhaps we should be suspicious of those musical censors who leap to dismiss whatever is spontaneously likeable as cliché, and whatever touches [...]

Why Modern Music Should Listen to the Past

By |2020-07-16T16:21:11-05:00July 16th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Featured, Music, Philosophy, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

It is only the loved and repeated repertoire that will ensure the survival of music, and to be loved and repeated music requires a dedicated audience. Music exists in the ear of the listener, not on the page of the score, nor in the world of pure sound effects. And listeners, deterred by the avant-garde, [...]

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